The ‘fast’ way to help your heart?

Westside Eagle-Observer - - OPINION -

Cul­tures all over the world en­gage in pe­ri­odic fast­ing, mostly for re­li­gious rea­sons – and it ap­pears there may be health ben­e­fits as well. In a re­cent anal­y­sis pub­lished in “Cir­cu­la­tion,” the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion found ev­i­dence to sug­gest that in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing may help adults lose weight and lower triglyc­erides, a type of fat in the blood, at least in the short term.

Ben­e­fits (and risks) of eat­ing less

In ad­di­tion to short-term weight loss and lower triglyc­eride lev­els, the re­port’s au­thors found that in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing might also help lower LDL choles­terol and blood pres­sure, but cau­tioned that those stud­ies were small and that re­duc­tions were as­so­ci­ated with how much weight the stud­ies’ par­tic­i­pants lost.

Of course, fast­ing di­ets can be a bit ex­treme. They usu­ally fol­low one of these pat­terns:

■ Fast­ing a few days a week.

■ Cut­ting calo­ries by 75 per­cent on al­ter­nat­ing days.

■ Skip­ping one meal each day.

Re­duc­ing calo­ries in some groups, such as older adults, can have a down­side, the au­thors note. So talk with your doc­tor be­fore you give it a try.

A bet­ter plan?

Fast­ing di­ets are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar, but if you don’t think you’re dis­ci­plined enough to give up a meal or cut calo­ries so sig­nif­i­cantly, you might get sim­i­lar ben­e­fits just from be­ing more mind­ful.

The au­thors, who also an­a­lyzed re­search on how meal tim­ing and fre­quency af­fect weight loss, con­cluded that plan­ning both what you eat and when could be easy, ef­fec­tive weight-loss tools that make you less prone to mid-af­ter­noon vend­ing ma­chine runs or din­ner times spent in the drive-through.

Your heart is on their minds

If you have a heart is­sue, your pri­mary care doc­tor will most likely re­fer you to one of two dif­fer­ent types of car­di­ol­o­gists.

Non-in­va­sive, or gen­eral, car­di­ol­o­gists typ­i­cally work with pa­tients to de­ter­mine what is wrong with the heart. A non-in­va­sive car­di­ol­o­gist per­forms di­ag­nos­tic test­ing such as tread­mill tests or echocar­dio­grams and de­ter­mines the best course of treat­ment.

In­ter­ven­tional car­di­ol­o­gists re­ceive one to two years ad­di­tional train­ing in treat­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease us­ing catheters. By in­sert­ing these tubes into blood

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